Saturday 24 June 2023

Debut Flash: 'Must Be The Music' by Sophia Skyers

I bumped into him on the corridor leading to the science lab.  It was 1972.  We were in sixth form college.  He quiet, disarming, of slight build, carrying his books in a brown holdall.  He sported a thick Afro then.  We were on the cusp of adulthood, both 16 years old, the future stretching luxuriously before us. 

In the evenings, we would walk home together, taking the short cut across a municipal dump.  We shared fears about our exams, the future.  We were different.  We still are.  Me gregarious, outgoing, extrovert, him considered, reflective, shy.  I never dreamed we would marry. 

I watch him, the lead musician, take to the stage Gibson 335 strapped across his body; he has given his guitar the sobriquet Lucinda.  I see him undergo a metamorphosis.  There he stands in the middle of the stage, bass player to his right, keyboard player turned slightly sideways, to his left.  The drummer at the back, from where I sit, partially obscured by a cymbal positioned at eye level.  Michael faces the crowd, his eyes sweep downwards, almost imperceptibly, then upwards across the expanse of warm bodies.  He searches for me, grins broadly, as the band strikes its first note. 

I watch his nimble fingers glide across the strings.  The rhythmical patterns transmit energy, punctuated by a figure, ‘sweet taste of summer jasmine in bloom’ from the Isley Brothers’ Summer Breeze, and Third World’s ‘Now That We’ve Found Love’.  The audience is exuberant, the applause, reverberant; he the gregarious, extrovert one now.  A change in time signature shifts the tempo; the music becomes slow, measured.  I look at him, absorbed in the moment, his mind emptied of everything and everyone.  He tells me later, before we go to sleep, ‘The music dropped just right’. 

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